Porn charges for 'sexting' stir debate Should teens who send racy photos face serious felony charges? By Martha Irvine The Associated Press - updated 4:00 p.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 4, 2009 CHICAGO - Though youth is fleeting, images sent on a cell phone or posted online may not be, especially if they're naughty. Teenagers' habit of distributing nude self-portraits electronically often called "sexting" if it's done by cell phone has parents and school administrators worried. Some prosecutors have begun charging teens who send and receive such images with child pornography and other serious felonies. But is that the best way to handle it? "Hopefully we'll get the message out to these kids," says Michael McAlexander, a prosecutor in Allen County, Ind., which includes Fort Wayne. A teenage boy there is facing felony obscenity charges for allegedly sending a photo of his private parts to several female classmates. Another boy was recently charged with child pornography in a similar case. In some cases, the photos are sent to harass other teens or to get attention. Other times, they're viewed as a high-tech way to flirt. Either way, law enforcement officials want it to stop, even if it means threatening to add "sex offender" to a juvenile's confidential record. "We don't want to throw these kids in jail," McAlexander says. "But we want them to think." Whatever the outcome, the mere fact that child pornography charges were filed at all is stirring debate among students and adults.